03 February 2009

Signs of the Time

There has been a lot of controversy of late at both the City and the Park Board over amendments to the city's charter concerning advertising and signage. The charter allows for advertising and signage in parks but the language used is very loose. The City's legal department has been wanting tighter language and greater restrictions for some time. The Olympics have given us the opportunity to make those changes. Changing the charter is not easy as the Provincial government has to do it. In this case, the Park Board has to ask the City and then the City has to ask the Province to make any changes.

Opening up the Charter is always fraught with difficulty as it is perceived as watering down the Charter and the basic rights it acknowledges. In this case the Charter amendments actually put further restrictions on advertising and level the field so all people/groups can be treated fairly. I have fought against (and some would say was elected because of this fight) the commercialization of our public spaces for many years. It is because of this fight that I supported the amendments. I believe they give the Park Board more control over signs and advertising and better protect us from increasing commercialization.

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